Robert Paul

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Witness at Mary Ann Nichols' inquest.

(First name erroneously given as 'John' by newspaper reports and some authors).

Born 1857, Mile End, London. Married to Julia Hurley, they had eight children: Robert (1880-84), Ellen (1883), Mary (1886), Julia (1888), Margaret (1889), Cornelius (1892), Robert (1893) and Michael (1895).[1]

Robert Paul was a carman working in Corbett's Court (today's Corbett Place) off Hanbury Street, Spitalfields, he lived at 30 Foster Street, Whitechapel. He was on his way to work as he passed down Buck's Row at approx. 3.45am on 31st August 1888, when he was approached by Charles Cross who had just discovered the body of Mary Ann Nichols. Paul felt her face and hands and said "I think she's breathing but it's very little if she is". He thought she may be dead.

Paul suggested they try and move the body and Cross refused, though as Paul rearranged Nichols' clothing, he touched her breast, believing there to have been some slight movement. The two men continued their walk to work, first approaching PC Jonas Mizen to tell him of their find, before Paul left Cross at Hanbury Street to go into work at Corbett's Court.[2]


  1. Census reports 1881/1891/1901
  2. Inquest report, The Daily Telegraph, 3rd September 1888